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An analysis of dual-track urbanisation in the Pearl River Delta since 1980

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This paper argues that the Chinese pattern of urbanisation since 1978 is distinguished by dual-track urbanisation – state-sponsored urbanisation and spontaneous urbanisation, and that both tracks contribute significantly to the transformation of the spatial pattern of urbanisation. The Pearl River Delta region is chosen for a detailed analysis of the dual-track urbanisation in post-reform China. It is found that special economic zone (SEZ) cities are leading both state-sponsored and spontaneous urbanisation in the region, which is different from either large city or small town-based urbanisation advocated in the literature. Multivariate statistical analysis shows that factors affecting the two tracks of urbanisation are different and have changed over time. The level of economic development has an important impact on the level of the state-sponsored urbanisation, but is not significant to spontaneous urbanisation. Areas with fewer state owned enterprises (SOEs) have a higher level of spontaneous urbanisation. The non-state sector also became more important in the state-sponsored urbanisation of the 1990s.

Keywords: China; Dual-track urbanisation; Pearl River Delta; spatial analysis; spontaneous urbanisation; state-sponsored urbanisation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong. ;;, Email: 2: Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Publication date: May 1, 2003


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